July 11, 2016
This chopped Panzanella salad is no ordinary salad with croutons. It’s a mouthwatering combination of fresh ingredients tossed with juicy-cooked chicken and homemade vinaigrette!
Croutons act like a sponge and soak up all the tomato juices and vinaigrette, forever changing how you look at salads. It’s fresh, healthy, and the perfect way to turn those summer vegetables into one unforgettable meal.
What is a Chopped Panzanella Salad?
Each bite of this chopped Panzanella salad is packed with vibrant flavors of ripe tomatoes, cucumbers, tender chicken, and croutons coated in a Dijon vinaigrette.
This recipe is one I came up with by combining two of my favorite salads: the “chopped salad” and Panzanella.
Chopped salads include ingredients that have been diced into uniform sizes and tossed together. Panzanella salad is made with stale toasted bread, onions, and tomatoes in an oil and vinegar-based dressing.
Both individual salads are delicious, but when combined, they create an incredible meal to enjoy during hot weather days.
Ingredients for Chopped Salad with Croutons
Chopped salads are known for their variety of fresh ingredients, and this recipe is no exception. I like to include pan-seared chicken and feta cheese to boost the protein and make it more satiating.
Here’s a list of what to include in this chopped Panzanella:
- chicken breast: cubed and pan-seared chicken boosts the heartiness of the salad.
- garlic powder: sprinkled over the chicken breast before they’re cooked.
- salt & black pepper: essential for flavorful cooked chicken.
- olive oil: to grease the pan.
- fresh tomatoes: any fresh, ripe tomatoes will do! Roma, vine, grape, tomato, or heirlooms.
- English cucumber: crisper and sweeter than standard cucumbers, but use whatever cucumbers are available near you.
- red onion: optional, but if you love them, add them!
- fresh basil: sweet in aroma and flavor. Make sure to give it finely before adding it to the salad.
- croutons: you can find freshly made croutons in small bags near the bread section of your local grocery or use your favorite salad croutons.
- feta cheese crumbles: tangy, creamy, and makes everything taste better!
- Dijon Vinaigrettete: a simple vinaigrette made with pantry staples.
How to Make a Chopped Panzanella Salad with Croutons
Grab a chopping board and a large sharp knife and get ready to chop, chop, chop! This is a very simple recipe and one you can pull off in less than 20 minutes. Put on your headphones, and some music, and here is what to do:
- Chop the veggies
On a large cutting board, chop the tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and basil. Add them to a large bowl and set them aside.
- Cook the Chicken
Cube the chicken breasts and season the pieces with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. In a large skillet, pan-sear the chicken pieces for 7 minutes until they reach an internal temperature of 165F.
- Toss is all together
Once the chicken is cooked, add the pieces to the veggies, top with feta cheese, drizzle with the vinaigrette, and give it a good toss.
Quick. Simple. Delicious- watch this short video to see how this chopped Panzanella turns out.
You’ll notice I cubed and toasted day-old bread in the video. Traditionally, this is what Panzanella is made with, but I find prepared croutons work just as well and shave off 10 minutes from the recipe.
Making This Salad the Main Dish
This salad has it all: veggies, lean protein, and bread, but if you want to make it heartier, try adding one of the yummy ingredients listed below. Each ingredient will boost the amount of protein in the salad while matching its fresh vibes and flavor.
- 15 oz can chickpeas: chickpeas are a great source of protein and have a nutty flavor that goes great with this salad’s ingredients.
- 15oz can Cannellini beans: also known as white beans are super tender and popular in many Mediterranean dishes.
- 1 cup cooked brown lentils: super hearty and easy to toss into a salad. Just one cup of cooked brown lentils adds 18 grams of protein and 16 grams of fiber.
- 8oz sliced Salami: this aged Italian deli cut would go perfect with the tomatoes and croutons.
- 1lb Grilled or cooked shrimp: plump, tender shrimp are quickly cooked on the stove-top or grill.
Greek Panzanella Salad
- 1 lb chicken breasts, cubed
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 medium tomatoes, sliced into wedges
- 1 English cucumber, sliced in half-moons
- ½ small red onion, sliced
- ¼ cup chopped basil
- 1 cup croutons
- ¼ cup feta cheese crumbles
- ½ cup Dijon Vinaigrettete
- Pat dry chicken breast cubes and season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- In a large pan, heat up oil and add the chicken pieces. Cook, stirring throughout, for about 7 to 9 minutes, until the chicken pieces are done and have reached an internal temperature of 165F. Turn off the heat, and remove the chicken from the pan onto a plate.
- In a large bowl, place tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, cooked chicken pieces, chopped basil, and croutons. Sprinkle feta cheese over the top. Pour vinaigrette and toss to combine. Serve immediately.